I have a grocery shopping method that will save time, money, and stress, and it works for any size family, no matter how busy you are. In fact, the busier you are, the more you'll appreciate it.
In case we haven't met before, let me remind you that we have a family of 6 and we homeschool. My husband is a mail carrier 6 days a week (at least until the government changes his schedule!). We attend church twice a week, a local homeschool co-op (Enrichment Classes) on Fridays, and piano lessons on Wednesdays. My youngest child is 17 months old.
When things get busy, meals are the first part of our day to suffer. We might resort to fast food or sandwiches when Mom gets stressed.
Since I am a born organizer, I've been using the following method, in one form or another, all of my adult life. It keeps us on budget (mostly) and reduces stress and mess.
Map out your weekly schedule, including regular weekly events and irregular events (like a birthday party or special outing). This helps you to see if you'll need to pack lunches, purchase extra or occasional ingredients, and see where your busy days occur.
Schedule your easy-to-prepare favorites on the busy days. Don't add extra busy-ness by scheduling a big, messy meal on the same day you'll be gone for several hours.
Make good use of leftovers. Since leftovers are always a possibility, and you know which meals will produce them, use them up in your menu, for lunches or even then next night's supper.
Use a slow cooker. I can't stress the value of this enough! It's such a great feeling to know that dinner is already cooking by 9 a.m. And when you come home from a busy day out or after church on Sunday, the smell of dinner already prepared is even better!
Make lunches a breeze. I like to make easy lunches (or rather, make lunches easy) by planning several no-cook foods. We do fruit and yogurt, cheese and crackers with apples, banana bread, and sandwiches. It makes lunchtime faster, and clean up is easy.
Use a rotating schedule. It's easy to plan and remember when you have somethings that don't change. For instance, Monday is Mexican night, Thursday is pizza, or Sunday morning is omelets. You can vary the actual food served and still stick with a theme.
So here's what a sample week looks like for us:
The secret to all of this is to plan ahead. You'll know which ingredients to buy, you'll have them on hand, and when you wake up in the morning, you just need to consult your menu plan to know what's on today!
Get other simple ideas for making your home run smoothly here.
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